Nextwave Wireless, the San Diego holder of wireless spectrum licenses, said that its sale to AT&T Inc. was approved by the Federal Communications Commission, the last regulatory hurdle before the deal can be completed.

The sale is expected to close in the first quarter, subject to the satisfaction or waiver of all closing conditions under the agreement, the company said.

Dallas-based AT&T and Nextwave first announced the transaction in August in a series of securities filings, which put the purchase price at $25 million in cash and assumption of Nextwave’s debt.

AT&T has been seeking expanded wireless spectrum ever since the FCC rejected its proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA last year. The arrangement also rescued Nextwave, which had already sold its best assets and was facing a second go-round in bankruptcy if it couldn’t find a buyer.

Operating as the owner entity for the spectrum licenses it holds, Nextwave reported a net loss for the nine months ended Sept. 29 of $131.9 million, compared with a net loss of $195.8 million for the like period of 2011. Its accumulated deficit at that date was $1.7 billion.

Shares of Nextwave, traded on the Over the Counter Bulletin Board under WAVE, closed Dec. 21 at $1.23, up a penny. Its 52-week range is 6 cents to $1.41.

— Mike Allen